DIY Wedding Reception Table Arrangements

Even though our wedding day is over — I have so many stories that I ran out of time to tell leading up to the big day. So — instead of rushing into writing the Wedding Day post, I decided to write about some of the preparation. Today: DIY Wedding Reception Arrangements.

As my mom knows, I love setting the table at Thanksgiving and Christmas, so when it came to figuring out our table arrangements for the wedding, I was all about it. Like all modern brides, I started on Pinterest and was soon off and running with an complete DIY approach: brown paper on top of white table clothes, tea towels with a red stripe, spray-painted wine bottles with flowers (ordered online), and herbs planted in soup cans and covered with pretty paper from Paper Source. “Years” for table numbers, showcasing a photo from Harry and me from that year.

bottles and spraypaint

Sometime in January I sent out an email to some friends and family. Titled CANS!!!, it read:

huge wedding favor: possible to start keeping the vegetable and soup cans that you use? no lid (obvi.) just the can. we are going to wrap them in fun paper and use them on the tables as vases! how can i help you remember? should i make some signs and send them along for the refrig? let me know! i am of course willing! also — pass along to anyone you think might be able to help? Katie — maybe your mom?  ok, hope this isn’t too annoying! many, many thanks.
There it was…the beginning of what proved to be a multi-person, multi-day, never-ending project. Over 70 wine bottles were spray-painted over the course of three weekends. Kerry and Bill, who came for a weekend of fun in Chestertown, found themselves part a spray-paint test. (Which color looked the best?) Elizabeth spent more than one late night in the bathroom with me placing wine bottles in hot water and scraping off the labels. And the Keppel Crew came to the Eastern Shore, not to enjoy crabs poolside, but to help me complete the entire project. They also perfectly cut all the pretty paper for the cans and glued it around each herb the day before the wedding. I spent the week before planting the herbs and diligently watering the 80 cans each day.
photo 1
The weekend of the wedding, my 6th grade art teacher, Sue Maurer and my friends, Neha, Rad and Kerry brought the vision to life — arranging all the flowers in the wine bottles and creating the wine/can table arrangements. The result was truly beyond my wildest dreams! It was simply beautiful. A do-it-with-friends masterpiece.
I learned so much! DO think about storage when spray-painting wine bottles. Luckily, Harry’s mom didn’t mind lending her sun room to house all of the bottles and cans. DO wrap the spray-painted bottles in white paper towels when storing them (not newspaper!). DON’T put the pretty paper around the cans before you plant the herbs (too much dirt!). DO have fun looking for photos of yourself from 1987. Our moms helped us find all the memories. DO ask your Harry for lots of advice along the way. Even though Harry was a bit “hands off” when it came to this particular wedding project, he helped me with the tough stuff like the best approach to spray-painting, where to put the herbs so they wouldn’t be in direct sunlight all week, what to do when you order the wrong width of brown paper and the most efficient way to refill the flower buckets with fresh water each day (so they didn’t die!). To everyone who helped: a million thank yous.

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